Failure of leadership, says Bernie Sanders over Trump's statement on Delhi riots

Failure of leadership, says Bernie Sanders over Trump's statement on Delhi riots
Bernie Sanders
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Washington: A day after US lawmakers reacted sharply to the violence in the Indian capital, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders here accused US President Donald Trump of failing on the issue of human rights.

Slamming the US president, Sanders said the Trump's statement regarding the violence in New Delhi during his India visit was a "failure of leadership".

Asked about incidents of violence during his India visit, the US president had said, "As far as the individual attacks, I heard about it, but I didn't discuss that with him (Modi). That's up to India."

Reacting to the issue, Sanders on Wednesday tweeted, "Over 200 million Muslims call India home. Widespread anti-Muslim mob violence has killed at least 27 and injured many more. Trump responds by saying 'That's up to India'. This is a failure of leadership on human rights."

Sanders is the second Democratic presidential nominee after Senator Elizabeth Warren to speak against the violence over the Citizenship Amendment Act in New Delhi.

Apart from the Democratic presidential candidate, other influential senators too expressed concern over the developments on Wednesday.

"We are alarmed by the recent violence in New Delhi. We continue to support an open dialogue on issues of significant concern in order to advance our vital long-term relationship," Senator Mark Warner from the Democratic Party and John Cornyn from the GOP said in a joint statement.

Warner and Cornyn are co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus, the largest country-specific caucus in the US Senate.

Congressman Jamie Raskin said he was horrified by the violence, which was fuelled by religious hatred and fanaticism.

"Liberal democracies must protect religious freedom and pluralism, and avoid the path of discrimination and bigotry," the Congressman said.

Richard N Hass, who heads the powerful Council on Foreign Relations, said the reason for India's relative success has been that its large Muslim minority saw itself as Indian.

"But this is at risk owing to govt attempts to exploit identity politics for political advantage," he said.

Earlier in the day, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom urged the Government of India to take swift action for the safety of its citizens.

Expressing "grave concern" over the violence, the US body said the Indian government should provide protection to people regardless of their faith amid reports of attack on Muslims.

India is incredible: Trump

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has said that the US' relationship with India is "extraordinary" right now and a lot of progress was made in bilateral ties during his maiden official visit to the country where America will be doing a lot of business.

Talking to reporters here, after his return from India on Wednesday, Trump said, "He (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) is a great gentleman, a great leader. It's an incredible country."

President Trump visited India from February 24 to 25. He was accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump daughter Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner and the top brass of his administration, including National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien.

They visited Ahmedabad, Agra and New Delhi before leaving for Washington on Tuesday.

During his stay, he addressed a massive rally in Ahmedabad, visited Agra and held official meetings in New Delhi.

The US president was feted at the world's largest cricket stadium in the "Namaste Trump" event in Ahmedabad and was cheered by tens of thousands of people.

"We were treated very, very well and we really enjoyed it. A lot of tremendous progress was made in terms of relationship-our relationship with India is extraordinary right now," he said.

"We are going to be doing a lot of business with India, they are sending billions and billions of dollars now to the United States," Trump said in response to a question.

In a tweet, his daughter Ivanka said that, Trump announced that US International Development Finance Corporation "will establish a permanent presence in India to strengthen our economic ties, improve development plus further women's economic empowerment through WGDP (Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative)!"

On her arrival from India, she thanked Modi for "your warm hospitality as we visited your beautiful country and celebrated the strength, spirit and unity of the US and India!"

"Throughout our visit we saw monumental achievements of human creativity & proof of the infinite capacity of the human heart!" she said.

The First Lady tweeted two pictures of her with Trump facing the Taj Mahal in Agra.

"One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the breathtaking Taj Mahal!" she said.

President Trump "reaffirmed the strong strategic partnership, vibrant economic ties and expanding security relationship between our two countries. Wonderful trip, but glad to be home! Thank you India!" said White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham.

During the visit, India and the US on Tuesday finalised defence deals worth $3 billion under which 30 military helicopters will be procured from two American defence majors for Indian armed forces.

The deals will include procurement of 24 MH-60 Romeo helicopters by India from the US at a cost of $2.6 billion. Another contract to acquire six AH-64E Apache helicopters for $800 million from the US is also on the table.

(With PTI inputs)

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